The English Housekeeper/Chapter 30

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Often when the Doctor's skill has saved the life of his patient, and it remains for the diligent nurse to prepare the cooling drinks and restorative foods, the taste and the appetite of sick persons are so capricious that they will reject the very thing which they had just before chosen: and frequently, if consulted upon the subject, will object to something which, if it had appeared unexpectedly before them, they would, perhaps, have cheerfully partaken of. Everything which is prepared for a sick person should be delicately clean, served quickly, in the nicest order; and in a small quantity at a time.

See, in the Index, Mutton and Chicken broths.

Mutton Chops to Stew.

Chops for an invalid may be stewed till tender, in cold water to cover them, over a slow fire; scum carefully, add 1 onion, and if approved, 3 turnips. The broth will be very delicate.

A Nourishing Broth.

Put 1 lb. lean beef, 1 lb. scrag of veal, and 1 lb. scrag of mutton, into a saucepan with water enough to cover, and a little salt, let it boil to throw up the scum, take that off, pour off the water, and take off all the scum hanging about the meat: pour in 2½ quarts of warm (not hot) water, let it boil, and simmer gently till very much reduced, and the meat in rags. A faggot of herbs may be added, and a few peppercorns: also an onion, if desired. When the broth is cold remove the fat. If to serve at once, the fat may be taken off, by laying a piece of blotting paper over the top.—Tapioca is very nice in broths for invalids.—Or: put a knuckle of veal, with very little meat, and 2 shanks of mutton, into an earthen jar or pan, with 3 blades of mace, 2 peppercorns, an onion, a thick slice of bread, 3 quarts of water, and salt: tie a paper over, and bake it, four hours: then strain, and take off the fat.

Calf's-feet Broth.

Boil 3 feet in 4 quarts of water, with a little salt: it should boil up first, then simmer, till the liquor is wasted half: strain, and put it by. This may be warmed (the fat taken off), a tea-cupful at a time, with either white or Port wine, and is very nourishing.—Or: boil the feet with 2 oz. lean veal, the same of beef, half a penny roll, a blade of mace, salt, and nutmeg, in 4 quarts of water: when well boiled, strain it, and take off the fat.

Eel Broth.

This is very strengthening, ½ lb. small eels will make 1 pint of broth. Clean, and put them into a saucepan with 3 quarts of water, parsley, a slice of onion, a few peppercorns, and salt; simmer, till the broth tastes well, then strain it.

Beef Tea.

Notch 1½ lb. of beef (the veiny piece), put it into a saucepan with a quart of water, let it boil, take off the scum, and let it continue to simmer two hours. Beef tea should be free from fat and scum, and not burned.

Beef Jelly.

Let a shin of beef be in water an hour, take it out, and drain it; cut it in small pieces, break the bones, and put all in a stew-pan or jar, with 6 quarts of milk. Put it in the oven, and stew it till reduced to 3 quarts; skim off the fat, take out the bones, strain through a jelly bag, and add 1 oz. hartshorn shavings and a stick of cinnamon. Boil again gently over a slow fire, but be careful not to burn. Take every morning fasting, and at noon, a tea-cupful, warmed with a glass of wine.

Shank Jelly (very strengthening).

Soak 12 shanks of mutton, then brush and scour them very clean. Lay them in a saucepan with 3 blades of mace, an onion, 20 Jamaica and 40 black peppers, a bunch of sweet herbs, a crust of bread, browned by toasting, and 3 quarts of water; set the saucepan over a slow fire or hearth, keep it covered, let it simmer, as gently as possible, five hours. Strain, and keep it in a cold place. You may add 1 lb. of lean beef.

For a Weak Stomach.

Cut 2 lbs. of lean veal and some turnips into thin slices. Put a layer of veal and a layer of turnips into a stone jar, cover close and set it in a kettle of water. Boil two hours, then strain it. You may not have more than a tea-cupful of liquor, which is to be taken, a spoonful at a time, as often as agreeable. This has been known to stay on a weak stomach, when nothing else would.—Or: put a cow heel into a covered earthen jar or pan, with 3 pints of milk, 3 pints of water, 1 oz. hartshorn shavings, and a little fine sugar. Let it stand six hours in a moderate oven, then strain it.—Or: bake a neat's foot, in 2 quarts of water and 2 quarts of new milk, with ½ lb. sun raisins, stoned. When the foot is in pieces, set it by to get cold, and take off the fat. A tea-cupful, dissolved in warm milk or wine.

Bread Jelly, for a Sick Person.

Pare all the crust off a penny roll, cut the crumb in slices, toast these on both sides, of a light brown. Have ready a quart of water, boiled, and cold, put the slices of bread into it, and boil gently until the liquor is a jelly, which you will ascertain, by putting some in a spoon, to cool. Strain through a thin cloth, and put it by for use. Warm a tea-cupful, add sugar, grated lemon peel, and wine or milk as you choose; for children the latter. This jelly is said to be so strengthening that one spoonful contains more nourishment than a tea-cupful of any other jelly.—Or: grate some crumbs very fine; put a large tea-cupful of water into a saucepan, with a glass of white wine, sugar and nutmeg to taste, make this boil, stir in the crumbs, by degrees, boil very fast, stirring all the time, till it is as thick as you like.

Jelly for a Sick Person.

Boil 1 oz. of isinglass, in a quart of water, with 40 Jamaica peppers, and a crust of bread; let the water reduce one half. A large spoonful of this may be taken in wine and water, milk, or tea.—Or: boil ¼ oz. of isinglass shavings in a pint of new milk, till reduced half; sweeten to taste, and take it lukewarm.


Boil a chicken, till 3 parts cooked, in a quart of water, let it get cold, take off the skin, cut the white meat into pieces, and pound it in a marble mortar, with a little of the water it was boiled in, salt and nutmeg. Boil it in more of the liquid, till of the proper consistency.

Strengthening Jelly.

Boil ¾ lb. hartshorn shavings, 1½ oz. of isinglass and candied eringo root, in 5 quarts of water, to a strong jelly, strain it, add ¼ lb. brown sugar candy, the juice of a Seville orange, and ½ pint of white wine. A wine-glassful three times a day.—Or: put 2 oz. of the best isinglass, 1 oz. gum arabic, 2 oz. white sugar candy, and a little nutmeg, in a white jar with a pint of Port or sherry, and simmer it twenty-four hours in a vessel of water; then strain it. Take the size of a walnut three times a day.

Gloucester Jelly.

Boil 2 oz. hartshorn shavings, 2 oz. pearl barley, 1 oz. sago, ½ oz. candied eringo root, and 3 pints of water, till reduced to a quart. A tea-cupful, warmed, morning and evening, in wine, milk, broth, or water.

Port Wine Jelly.

Boil 1 pint of Port wine, 1 oz. isinglass, 1 oz. sugar candy, ¼ oz. gum arabic, and ½ a nutmeg, grated, five minutes, and strain it through muslin. Some add lemon peel and juice, cloves, and nutmeg. For table, colour it with cochineal.

Arrow-root Jelly.

If genuine, this is very nourishing. Put ½ pint of water into a saucepan, with a wine-glass of sherry, or a table-spoonful of brandy, sugar, and grated nutmeg; let it come quickly to a boil; rub smooth a dessert-spoonful of arrow-root in two table-spoonsful of cold water; stir this by degrees into the wine and water, put it all into the same saucepan, and boil it three minutes.—Or: pour boiling (not merely hot) water over the arrow-root, and keep stirring; it will soon thicken. Add brandy, lump sugar, and, if approved, lemon juice.

Tapioca Jelly.

Wash well, and soak it five or six hours, changing the water two or three times; simmer it in the last water, with a piece of lemon peel, until clear; add lemon juice, wine, and sugar to taste.

Sago to Boil.

Put a large table-spoonful into ¾ of a pint of water. Stir and boil very gently, till it is as thick as you require. Add wine, sugar, and nutmeg to taste.—Tapioca in the same way. Soak both these two or three hours before they are boiled. They may be boiled in milk, like rice.


Put 2 table-spoonsful of the best grits into ½ pint cold water; let it boil gently, and stir often, till it is as thick as you require. When done, strain, and serve it directly; or if to be put by, stir till quite cold. Boil in it a piece of ginger, and, if for caudle, lemon peel also. Barley Gruel—Wash 5 oz. of pearl barley, boil it in two quarts of water, with a stick of cinnamon, till reduced half; strain, then warm it with 2 wine-glassfuls of wine.

Barley Cream.

Boil 1 lb. of veal, free from skin and fat, with 1 oz. pearl barley, in a quart of water, till reduced to a pint, then rub it through a sieve till it is of the consistency of cream, perfectly smooth; add salt and spice to taste.

Water Gruel.

Put a large spoonful of oatmeal into a pint of water, mix well, and let it boil up three or four times, stirring constantly; then strain, add salt to taste, and a piece of butter. Stir till the butter is melted, and the gruel will be fine and smooth.


Make some smooth gruel, well boiled, strain, and stir it. Some like half brandy and half white wine; others, wine, sugar, lemon peel, and nutmeg.—Or: add to ¼ pint gruel a large table-spoonful of brandy, the same of white wine, capillaire, a little nutmeg and lemon peel. Some use ale; no wine or brandy. Rice Caudle—Soak 2 table-spoonsful of rice in water, an hour, then simmer it gently in 1¼ pint of milk till it will pulp through a sieve; put the pulp and milk back into the saucepan, with a bruised clove and a bit of sugar. Simmer ten minutes; if too thick, add warm milk.—Or: rub smooth some ground rice with cold water, then mix with boiling water; simmer it a few minutes, add lemon peel, nutmeg pounded, cinnamon, and sugar, a little brandy, and boil it for a minute.

Rice Milk.

Wash, pick, then soak the rice in water, boil it in milk, with lemon peel and nutmeg: stir often, or it may burn.—Ground Rice Milk: rub a table-spoonful quite smooth, with a little cold water; stir in, by degrees, 1½ pint of milk, with cinnamon, lemon peel, and nutmeg; boil till thick enough, and sweeten to taste.

A Mutton Custard for a Cough.

Into a pint of good skim milk, shred 1 oz. of fresh mutton suet, and let it boil; then simmer gently an hour, stirring it from time to time. Strain, and take it at bed-time. Old fashioned, but good for tightness of the chest.—Another remedy for the same: heat the yolk of a fresh egg, and mix with a dessert-spoonful of honey, and the same of oatmeal; beat well, put it into a tumbler, and stir in by degrees, boiling water sufficient to fill it.—Or: mix a fresh laid egg, well beaten, with ¼ pint of new milk warmed, a table-spoonful of capillaire, the same of rose water, and a little grated nutmeg. Do not warm the milk after the egg is added to it.

Artificial Asses Milk.

To ½ oz. candied eringo root, add ½ oz. hartshorn shavings, and ½ oz. pearl barley; boil them in a pint of water over a slow fire till the water is reduced half. Mix a tea-cupful, with the same quantity of warmed milk, and take it half an hour before rising.

Onion Porridge.

Put 12 small, and 6 large onions, cut small, into a saucepan with a large piece of butter, shake over the fire, but do not let them burn: when half cooked, pour in a pint of boiling water, and simmer it till they are cooked. Some thicken with flour.

French Milk Porridge.

Stir some oatmeal and water together, and let it stand to settle; pour off the liquid, add fresh water to the oatmeal, and let it stand: the next day pass it through a sieve, boil the water, and while boiling, stir in some milk, in the proportion of 3 parts to 1 of water.

White Wine Whey.

Let ½ pint new milk come to a boil, pour in as much white wine as will turn it; let it boil up, and set the saucepan aside till the curd forms: then pour the whey off, or strain it, if required. Some add ½ pint of boiling water, and a bit of sugar; lemon juice may be added.

Rennet Whey.

Steep a piece of rennet, about an inch square, in a small tea-cupful of water, boiled and become a little cool. Then warm a quart of new milk, to the same temperature as from the cow, and when in this state, add a table-spoonful of the rennet. Let it stand before the fire until it thickens, then in a vessel of boiling water, on the fire, to separate the curds from the milk.

Vinegar or Lemon Whey.

Pour into boiling milk as much vinegar or lemon juice as will make a small quantity clear, dilute with warm water till it be of an agreeable acid; sweeten it to taste.

Mustard Whey.

Strew into a pint of milk, just coming to a boil, flour of mustard to turn it; let it stand a few minutes, then strain it.

Treacle Posset.

Into a pint of boiling milk pour 2 table-spoonsful of treacle, stir briskly till it curdles, then strain it.


Beat 2 oz. of sweet, and 2 or 3 bitter almonds, with a tea-spoonful of orange-flower water, to a paste: mix them with a quart of milk and water, and sweeten with sugar or capillaire. Some add a little brandy.


Pare 6 lemons very thin, and put the rinds into 3 pints of boiling water, and keep covered till cold. Boil 1 lb. of lump sugar in water to make a thin syrup, with the white of an egg to clear it. Squeeze 8 lemons in a separate bason, mix all together, add a quart of boiling milk, and pass it through a jelly bag till clear. Keep it till the next day.—Or: pour boiling water on a little of the peel, and cover close. Boil water and sugar together to a thin syrup, skim, and let it cool; then mix the juice, the syrup and water, in which the peel has infused, all together, and strain through a jelly bag. Some add capillaire.

Barley Water.

Wash 1 oz. of pearl barley, boil it in very little water, pour the latter off, then pour a quart of fresh water over, and boil it till reduced to half the quantity. Some boil lemon peel in it, others add lemon juice or cream of tartar, and sugar. A small quantity of gum arabic is good boiled in it.—Another, and by some doctors considered the best, is merely to pour boiling water on the barley, let it stand a quarter of an hour, and then pour it off clear.


Put 14 lbs. of loaf sugar, 3 lbs. coarse sugar, and 6 eggs well beaten, into 3 quarts of water; boil it up twice, skim well, and add ¼ pint of orange-flower water. Strain through a jelly bag, and bottle it. A spoonful or two in a tumbler of either warm or cold water is a pleasant drink.

Linseed Tea.

Boil 1 quart of water, and as it boils put in a table-spoonful of linseed; add two onions, boil a few minutes, then strain it, put in the juice of a lemon, and sugar to your taste. If it gets thick by standing, add a little boiling water.—Or: put the linseed in a piece of muslin, then in a quart jug, pour boiling water over and cover it close, an hour.

Lemon and Orange Water.

Put 3 slices lemon peel into a tea-pot, with a dessert-spoonful of capillaire, and pour ½ pint of boiling water over.—Or: pour boiling water over preserved orange or lemon.—Or: boil lemon or orange juice in some thin syrup of sugar and water.

Apple Water.

Pour boiling water over slices of apple in a covered jug.

Toast and Water.

Toast a piece of bread quite brown, without burning, put it in a covered jug, and pour boiling water on it; before the water is quite cold strain it off.

A Drink for Sick Persons.

Boil 1 oz. of pearl barley in 2 pints of water, with 1 oz. sweet almonds beaten fine, and a bit of lemon peel; when boiled to a smooth liquor, add syrup of lemons and capillaire.—Or: to take in a fever: boil 1½ oz. tamarinds with ¾ oz. raisins and 2 oz. currants stoned, in 3 pints of water, till reduced half; add a little grated lemon peel.

Saline Draughts.

Pour ½ pint spring water on 2 drachms salt of wormwood, and 4 table-spoonsful lemon juice; 2 table-spoonsful lump sugar may be added, if approved.—Or: pour 4 table-spoonsful lemon juice on 80 grains of salt of wormwood, add a small piece of sugar, finely pounded. When the salt is killed, add 4 table-spoonsful of plain mint water, and the same of spring water; strain, and divide it into 4 draughts, 1 to be taken every six hours. If the patient be bilious, add 10 grains of rhubarb, and 4 of jalap, to the morning and evening draught.—Or: pour into one glass a table-spoonful of lemon juice, and dissolve in it a lump of sugar; dissolve ½ a tea-spoonful of carbonate of soda in 2 table-spoonsful of water, in another glass: pour the two together, and drink in a state of effervescence. For delicate persons, a wine-glassful of sherry takes away the debilitating effect.


To be good must be made of a good kind, for poor, cheap coffee, though ever so strong, is not good. A breakfast-cup, quite full, before it is ground, makes a quart of good coffee. When the water boils in the coffee-pot, pour in the coffee, set it over the fire; the coffee will rise to the top, in boiling, and will then fall; boil it slowly three minutes longer, pour out a cupful, pour it back, then another, and let it stand five minutes by the side of the fire. A small piece of dried sole skin will fine it, or 2 lumps of sugar.—Coffee requires cream or boiled milk.


Some prefer milk alone, others milk, and half its quantity in water; let it boil (be careful it do not burn), and put in the chocolate, scraped; in quantity according to the strength desired; mill it quickly, and let it boil up, then mill it again.—For sick persons, use thin gruel, not milk.


For invalids who do not take tea for breakfast, its flavour may be given, by boiling a dessert-spoonful of green tea in a pint of milk, five minutes, then strain it. This renders it comparatively harmless.

Barley Sugar.

Put the beaten whites of 2 eggs in an earthen pipkin with a pint of water, and 2 lbs. clarified lump sugar, flavoured with essence or oil of lemons; boil quickly, skimming all the time, till stiff enough. Pour into a shallow brown dish, and form it as you please.

Everton Toffy.

To ¼ lb. treacle, put ½ lb. sugar, and 2 oz. butter, boil them together until they become hard when dropped in cold water. Then take the pan off the fire, and pour the toffy immediately into a tin dish.